Unfortunately Stephen Passed Away in August 2022
By Stephen Simpson
I’m the son of a printer, whose life was making packaging. Mother was the typical working class housewife, trying to bring up five kids in the 50’s and 60’s.
Mom and Dad meant well, I suppose, but we were a dysfunctional family, way before that term had ever been thought of.
In those days there were no counselors or shrinks to sort your life out for you and that’s why today our family is the way it is, which saddens me sometimes, but we all have to live with it.
I was the fourth child, went to Grammar School, when they still existed, got a job in a bank at age 16 after failing the medical to join the air force.
I never learned much music at school. The music master was also the choirmaster at the Parish Church and if you could sing you were OK, if not then you were an outsider and not likely to succeed.
My father was an organ nut. Pipe organs and theatre organs were his specialty and he had a fair collection of LP records. Amongst his records were three of mechanical organs, and I took to these as a child.
In my teens I became fascinated with fairground organs and went to steam rallies far and near to hear them. I never dreamed in those days I would ever be able to own one.
Dad’s workmate, Bill, was also a fair organ nut and took me to events and recitals too.
I started to experiment making music, but my parents were not at all encouraging,’ you don’t want to make yourself look a fool!’ was their advice. They preferred to stay in the shadows, the rest of the family did their own things!
While still living with my parents, I took to learning music and for some time played various instruments in local groups and sometimes playing for recording sessions.
My studies finally took me to a degree, but such was the lack of interest at home, that my parents never knew of my achievements.
I took a trip to Belgium in 1975 and visited the famous music arranger Arthur Prinsen, who showed me how the job was done.
Similarly, a visit to the arranger Albert Decap also helped me understand how it all worked.
At that time my musical knowledge was not up to having a go myself, but both of these great arrangers encouraged me to learn more and have a go. I’ll always be grateful to them.
I became single-minded and somewhat of a loner for a while. My first marriage failed after I bought my first organ. I guess she didn’t like the sound!
I married again a couple of years later and I’m still very happy many years later with my dear wife, Joyce (she prefers the name Joy). Joy has Multiple Sclerosis and has difficulty getting around but we still get out and have lots of fun. *Editors note Sadly Joy Passed away on the 10th February 2005
Apart from organs, what?
I am a real ale fan. Love a real pint of good British beer, preferably Wadworths 6X, or similar. There’s no need to get drunk, a couple of pints of real ale, savored for the flavour, is miles better than any mass produced near beer with smoothflow or widgets. Lager is fine, so long as it is a good brand, like Beck’s from Germany, but British lager is dishwater.
I play music too. Nowadays just for my own entertainment. I have an electric organ at home, and play occasionally. I used to play drums, both in a group and in sessions, and also guitar.